Airbnb China appoints new COO

China: Airbnb’s Chinese arm has hired a new chief operating officer, Siew Kum Hong, effective immediately.

Hong had previously joined the company in 2012 serving as its APAC general counsel, before subsequently becoming regional director for the Asia-Pacific region.

In the newly-created role, Hong will be responsible for for the business operations and team management of Airbnb’s China operations. He will be reporting directly to Airbnb chief strategy officer and co-founder, Nathan Blecharczyk.

Blecharczyk, who serves as director of Airbnb China, said: “China is critical to achieving our mission – to help create a world where anyone can belong anywhere and I’m incredibly excited that Siew Kum Hong will be a part of this important work. The China team has grown significantly in recent years and the China COO role is an investment in how we work effectively at this scale.”

Hong’s previous experience also includes serving as general counsel at Yahoo, and serving as a Singaporean member of parliament, advocating for social justice.

Peng Tao, president of Airbnb China, said: “We are excited to welcome Siew Kum Hong to join the China business. His onboarding will be a valuable addition to our leadership team in China, and he will be a natural gateway between China and Airbnb’s global network.”

Airbnb China has been seeing a steady market recovery over the past few months. According to data compiled by the company, 72 out of the top 100 cities in China saw booking rates over 100 per cent.

A survey conducted by Kantar collected the responses for around 1,000 Chinese adults and the travel trends they prefer. It revealed their desire to travel to a destination in a drivable distance, while an additional survey from Morning Consult demonstrated a preference for properties focused on cleanliness in the wake of the global pandemic.

The company has been working with local Chinese governments to promote home-stays, joining forces with the tourism departments of Zhejiang and Guilin provinces. Data has revealed that many markets in the country are already outperforming their previous year records.